The Tame Apple press has been claiming that Apple has just killed off the century old tech in the same way that it killed off the “CD drive and Ethernet port on laptops” (sic).
What none of them are actually saying is that people will not experience an improvement in sound on the iPhone 7 and what they will have to do is consider buying Lightning or Bluetooth headphones.
As a result, Apple will make a killing.
Lightning headphones have to go through Apple’s licensing programme and Jobs’ Mob charges a flat fee for every device sold. At the moment sales of Lightning headphones are low, so if Apple gets people to use them it makes dosh even if it does not make them.
It will also increase the sales of Bluetooth headphones and according to NPD a quarter of the Bluetooth headphone market is controlled by Beats which happens to be owned by Jobs’ Mob.
The mark up on Beats gear is cheap material marketed at a high price, for idiots who know little about sound but know a lot about brands. This makes a perfect fit for Apple, but also means that by encouraging its subsidiary it makes a lot of dosh.
To be fair, sales of Bluetooth headphones were already growing, with units up 64 percent year over year according to NPD’s US figures. But it is handy that Apple’s moves to kill the headphone jack have helped out.
Apple introduced its first ever pair of wireless headphones, called the AirPods. They sell for $159. Those who have tested them say they have the same sound quality as the $29 EarPods. Beats has announced three new sets of wireless headphones, the Solo 3 Wireless ($299.95), the Powerbeats 3 sport earbuds ($199.95), and a neck-wraparound called the Beats X ($149.95).
Apple’s decision to kill off the headphone jack was brave. It could backfire and users will ignore the iPhone 7. But the move was a smart bet. It is based on the very likely assumption that Apple users have to be stupid enough not to spot that they have no benefit from using it and that the change is just another way for Jobs’ Mob to screw them over. Apple has been lucky that so far its users have never wised up to that fact.